Let me do a bunch of hedging before I say anything remotely negative about what I heard from Big Boi's forthcoming Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors last night. First, it's generally my policy to not bother saying anything negative unless expectations are not met. Second, Big Boi is a legend, in or out of OutKast, and dude makes incredible, original rap music that deserves every ounce of attention and hype it gets. Third, I had Southernplayalistic on cassette.
It's not like I'm about to shit all over Vicious, anyways. I really couldn't get into "Mama Told Me" (mostly because I'm still mad Keyshia Cole and Diddy's "Last Night" never got its due), but I like "Lines," the new single with A$AP Rocky and Phantogram. Last night's listening session revealed some new gems: a notable double-time joint called "Apple Of My Eye" hit hard, as did "In The A," featuring T.I. and Ludacris. Luda should basically have a guest verse on everything; dude can't make albums to save his life, but he's basically bodied everything he's done for other rappers. (And putting Luda and T.I. on the same track conjures up memories of Young Buck's "Stomp," where they dissed each other on back to back verses.) Last night, we heard a very good, very solid, Daddy Fat Sax album.
Here's my problem: two of the biggest tracks in the country right now are Juicy J's "Bandz a Make Her Dance" and Future's "Turn On The Lights," both fueled by Mike Will's hypnogogic beats. Future made one of the best albums of 2012 with a weird brand of R&B trap. Drake and the Weeknd have somehow kept legions of fans happy with gigantic, mopey tracks about their feelings. The standard refrain when slighting Big Boi is that he's great at what he does, but it's not the same without André around (which we got to think about a lot while listening to Sir Lucious Left Foot on repeat before the band showed up last night). But André 3000's spacetastic fingerprint is all over the charts right now. Why don't we hear it on Vicious Lies?
Shorter version of that last paragraph: Why is Kid Cudi singing hooks here instead of Future (who is Rico Wade's cousin)?
Big Boi is the lucky veteran whose career is still developing despite decades in the game. OutKast never put out a boring album and, on his third solo outing (counting Speakerboxxx), there actually is a distinct sound for a Big Boi album. But I'm not out here wondering why there isn't a Rick Ross feature or Lex Lugar beats (although I wouldn't be mad at that). A little outside influence would be OutKast's legacy coming full circle.
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